March Forum 2023

Was conducted online and in-person in Piazza Armerina, Sicily

Forum 2023 Program

March 28th and 29th Hybrid Forum

Panels 1 to 3 included selected subject matter experts and military academy and university students.

The theme of the 2023 Forum was: “COUNTERING DISINFORMATION”. The organizers of the IFPSP support NATO’s definition of “disinformation” as the deliberate creation and dissemination of false and/or manipulated information with the intent to deceive and/or mislead.

Our immediate past and current affairs are awash with information labelled by any side as “fake” news and at its most devious, disinformation. The weaponizing of information is not new but new platforms for the delivery of information combined with an unimaginable volume of information challenge the most critical minds.

The 2023 International Forum for Peace, Security & Prosperity Forum addressed this reality through panels 1 to 3 where academics, operational experts and students from military and civilian institutions exchanged and shared knowledge highlighting the effects of disinformation on positive peace, security and prosperity.

Panel 4: Winning High School Contest Submissions

High School students from around the world were encouraged to submit videos and essays on the three panel topics for consideration in our IFPSP Student Contest.



CANADA (EDT) UTC-4 hours
ITALY (CEST) UTC+2 hours
Online & In-person, March 28th – 29th 2023 – 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM EST

Officer Cadets and University Students

Students from participating Military Academies and Universities were invited to a special full day program of knowledge sharing and exchange. For more information about this program contact:

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Civilians and high school students were invited on the Walk for Remembrance and Peace (WRAP)

07:00 to 08:00   
Breakfast at hotels / Dress for military personnel is combats / Field Uniform

08:00 to 11:00   

  • Arrival by bus at Assembly Point in Piazza Armerina and Welcome.
  • Depart from Piazza Armerina to Mirabella for a 4.5 km walk back to Piazza Armerina.
  • Walk guide will be Professor Angelo Plumari.  The Walk ends at the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) monument

11:00 to 11:30   
Parade at the RCR Monument – Last Post and bagpipe tunes played.  Wreath laying done by various contingents

Moment of Silence

11:45 to 12:00   
Parade dismissal and return to hotels to have lunch and change into service dress uniforms for military personnel

12:00 to 13:30   
Lunch on their own, lunch bag will be provided for cadets

Theatre doors open for cadets only – Dress Code: service uniform (S3) (understand that UOTC Army officer cadets do not have service dress)

13:40 to 15:00   
Resilience Exercise moderated by Dr. Lobna Cherif of RMC.

15:05 to 15:20   
Sicily and the Pillars of Peace, an introduction to the Institute for Economics and Peace led by Mr. Serge Stroobants, Director for EMENA for IEP

15:20 to 16:30   

  • Overview of the 8 pillars of sustainable peace
  • Review of pre-Forum material and discussion of implications: character-based anti-fragility; leadership for climate security;
  • Problems of disinformation moderated by Dr. Martin Nassua of the Helmut Schmidt University of Hamburg

16:30 to 16:45 

16:45 to 17:45   
Hybrid student panel: Military / Diplomatic partnership for peace, stability, and prosperity, led by Mr. Jake Austin of Tufts University and Dr. David Last of RMC

Closing remarks – Major General Craig Aitchison, Commander Canadian Defence Academy

18:30 to 22:30   
Dinner together

06:30 to 0730   
Breakfast at hotels.  Dress code – Service Dress (S3)

Theatre doors open for cadets

08:00 to 09:30

  • Simulation Round 1 led by Mr. Scott DeJong of Concordia University along with RMC facilitation and Mr. Richard Milburn of RMC
  • Group A (up to 100 cadets) Lizards and Lies simulation game played in groups of 4
  • Group B (up to 100 cadets) Climate Crisis simulation game played in groups of 4


09:30 to 10:00   

10:00 to 11:30   

  • Simulation Round 2 led by Mr. Scott DeJong of Concordia University along with RMC facilitation and Mr. Richard Milburn of RMC
  • Group B (up to 100 cadets) Lizards and Lies simulation game played in groups of 4
  • Group A (up to 100 cadets) Climate Crisis simulation game played in groups of 4


11:30 to 12:30   
Debrief of simulations in plenary

12:30 to 14:30   
Lunch on their own

Forum doors open for all participants at the Teatro Garibaldi and the Cinema

Forum Official Opening and Welcome by Mr. Steve Gregory Founder IFPSP

15:05 to 15:15   

  • Welcoming remarks from the Mayor of Piazza Armerina, Avv. Antonio Cammarata
  • Introduction of guest keynote speaker Elizabeth Spehar of Canada, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support in the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, The United Nations


15:15 to 15:40   
Keynote address by Elizabeth Spehar

15:40 to 16:55   
Panel 1:  Understanding the Information Environment, led by Mr. Serge Stroobants of the IEP and his panel members.

  • Provide a general understanding of the contemporary information environment; better understand the disinformation, propaganda, and misinformation challenges; how to effectively counter disinformation.
  • Discussion time

16:55 to 17:05   

17:05 to 18:10   
Panel 2: An Historical Case: OP HUSKY, led by Mr. John Melkon II of West Point and his panel members.

  • Far from it, the creation and dissemination of false and/or manipulated information is not a characteristic of our contemporary environment and was always historically exploited.  This panel will look at disinformation campaigns and strategies at work during the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943.
  • Discussion time

18:10 to 18:15   
Day 2 closing remarks by Major General Maurizio Angelo Scardino, Commander of the Italian Army in Sicily

18:15 to 18:30   
Recap of Day 2 and preview of Day 3 by Mr. Steve Gregory, Founder IFPSP

Day 2 ends

19:00 to 21:30   
Visit by cadets and staff to Villa Romana di Casale.

This 3rd-century Roman villa features more than 40 beautiful mosaic floors, making it one of the most cherished open-air museums in the region.

Return and dinner on their own – meal vouchers

06:00 to 06:30   
Breakfast at hotels.  Dress code – Service Dress (S3)

Bus departs for battlefield tour of Valguarnera with 2 stops led by Professor Angelo Plumari

06:30 to 11:30   
Battlefield tour including coffee in Valguarnera

10:00 to 11:00   
Holy Easter Preparatory Mass for invited VIP at the Church of St. Stephen in Valguarnera – Italian military tradition

11:30 to 12:00   
Parade at Piazza Villari in Valguarnera to include cadets and VIPs

12:00 to 12:30   
Return to Piazza Armerina

12:30 to 14:30   
Light lunch on site in Piazza Armerina for academies, out-of-town guests, and organizers

12:30 to 14:30   
VIP lunch and ceremonial exchange  Buffet / stand-up reception

Forum doors open for all participants at the Teatro Garibaldi and the Cinema

15:00 to 15:15   
Day 2 opening and welcoming remarks by Mr. Steve Gregory, Founder IFPSP.

 Introduction of keynote speaker

15:15 to 15:40
Keynote address TBD

15:40 to 16:55
PANEL 3: Disinformation – Contemporary Case Studies, led by Professor Dario Mangano of the University of Palermo and his panel members.

  • The intent of this panel is to analyse current examples of disinformation campaigns. The pandemic, democratic elections, ongoing wars, and military deployments would provide significant sources of analysis. 
  • Discussion time

16:55 to 17:05

17:05 to 18:10
PANEL 4: PSP Conference Contest winning students’ presentations, moderated by Colonel Carlouberto Massimo of the Italian Army

  • Top three essays and top three videos will be presented by the student finalists.
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards for each category will be awarded
  • Primarily conducted via on-line presentations, depending on student locations

18:10 to 18:20   
Keynote closing address by the Honourable Renato Schifani, President of Sicily.

18:20 to 18:30   
Closing remarks and acknowledgements

Forum Close

18:30 to 19:30   
Musical concert by the “Aosta Brigade” Military Band of the Italian Army

Free night in Piazza Armerina – Dinner on their own – meal vouchers

2022 Theme: Winning the Peace

The historical significance of the Allied and Italian civilian efforts to re-establish peace, provide security and lay the foundation for prosperity in Sicilian society immediately following the battle for Sicily in 1943.

The significance to Peace, Security and Prosperity of a recent UN or multi-lateral sanctioned operation, specifically highlighting civilian/military cooperation and leadership.

The significance of the collaboration among governments, civilian organizations, and the profession of arms (military) in the development and sustainment of positive peace.

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